Day 16 – Wed 21 Apr 2010 – Hanover und Bremen

Looks like I’ve made a good choice of hotel again. A nice breakfast and genuinely friendly hosts. The place has real character; with a plush, gently decadent air about it.

I’ll do short trips to Hanover and Bremen today. Caught the 0924 ICE. Barely a quarter of the seats are filled. Good views of inner Hamburg suburbs as we depart. Reminds me a little of Chicago without the skyscrapers.

En-route to Hanover

Hanover is my first destination. It’s is about the size of Newcastle but still has a massive station and both an S-Bahn and Stadtbahn system. The latter is sort of a hybrid metro and light rail system.  It has a very large underground shopping Plaza or arcade that leads from the station well into the city. Although it’s where my father’s family comes from, I have little knowledge of them and feel no connection with the place.

Hanover Opera House (Photo: Heidas)

The underground Stadtbahn system station in the city (Photo: Heidas)

Of all German cities so far Hanover is probably the one that has engaged me the least. There’s nothing wrong with it at all, it just doesn’t make any real impression on me. On to Bremen. Lots of marshalling yards on leaving Hanover. Lots of trains loaded with VW vans and one stacked with armoured personnel carriers. The weather has fined up a bit but it seems worse in the direction I’m headed.

Street scenes in Bremen – This place has real character

After the ‘so-so’ experience of Hamburg and Hanover, Bremen is a very pleasant surprise. Again a big station, but lots of light, music playing, people hawking soccer fan gear, and a very large square just outside, with a combined light rail and bus terminal. Even the two goth girls on the station steps cutely cuddling their pet rats somehow fit the scene.

No, not Amsterdam; definitely Bremen

Bremen has a population of about 500,000, has a genuine looking Altstadt, lots of interesting and quirky sculpture everywhere, and generally has a character that beautifully blends the old, the new, the straight and slightly bent.

Caught the train train back to Hamburg and got stuck into some Indian food for dinner. Plan look at some local museums and shops tomorrow.

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